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Using a Standing Desk Isn't Better Than Exercising

Don't Believe the Standing-Desk Hype

If you're concerned about developing a case of "chair butt" then you're not alone. We know sitting is bad for us, but how bad is it really? With some of the side effects of prolonged sitting and inactivity (read: shortening of life) being far worse than just developing a flat bum, many of us have been quick to jump on the standing desk bandwagon as a hopeful, solve-all. But are standing desks really the right solution?

A recent report produced by The Lancet Oncology indicated the idea that sitting for lengths of time could cancel out any exercises was inaccurate. Studies showed that it's high levels of moderate exercise that actually seem to indicate the ability to eliminate the risk of early death associated with high levels of sitting (more than 8 hours). Additionally, a study conducted by the University of Sydney showed that media reporting often had commercial ties to the promotion of sit-stand desks and therefore resulted in an "oversell" of standing desks as the perfect solution.

So the answer isn't as straightforward as simply standing more. Of course, we all should be trying to sit less, but our aim shouldn't be to switch one activity out for another entirely, but instead participate in a variety of activities and movements throughout the day. Whether that's achieved by taking regular breaks from sitting in the workplace (try alternating sitting and standing), taking short walks (making a cup of tea counts!), or incorporating regular exercise into your daily routine. Yes, sitting (for prolonged periods of time) is bad for you, but standing when done in excess can also present its own risks, such as an increased risk for cardiovascular disease and musculoskeletal disorders, due to the increased pressure placed on the muscles and vascular systems of the lower limbs.

So there you have it folks, don't feel guilty about not using the standing desk for hours at a time. Like most things in life, the key to avoiding a flat bum (and possible early mortality) is to keep your movements consistent and varied and to approach sitting (and standing desks) with a pinch of moderation.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Sheila Gim
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